Fire Prevention Week aims to extinguish home and wildfires

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The Danville Fire Department responded to a fire Monday night in the Westover Hills community.

The Danville Fire Department responded to a fire Monday night in the Westover Hills community. (Picture: Courtesy of MGN.)

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Fires are not top of mind for many until they see a home fire on the news or hear about a wildfire. Efforts by many groups this week aim to put fire prevention and safety front and center.

Fire Prevention Week ends Saturday, Oct. 12, and groups across America are focusing on preventing all types of fires.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), once a smoke alarm sounds residents have as little as one or two minutes to safely escape.

“Escape planning and practice can help them make the most of the time they have, giving everyone enough time to get out,” the agency’s website says.

The agency, which is part of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), urges Americans to come up with a plan. It says everyone should know that fires are fast, hot, dark, and deadly. The USFA says families should practice their fire escape plans two times per year.

Roanoke Fire and EMS posted a poll to Twitter asking its followers the number one cause of home fires. More than 60% answered cooking.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) said there are an estimated 51,000 home electrical fires each year, the third leading cause of home fires. It suggests having your home electrical system thoroughly inspected by a qualified electrician. It also says to only use extension cords occasionally and avoid overloading outlets.

Of course, fire prevention is not only at home or even the workplace. Outdoor fires are a major cause of property damage each year.

The website smokeybear.com lists several ways to prevent forest and outdoor fires, including articles on how to pick your campfire spot, how to prepare your campfire pit, how to build your campfire, and how to properly maintain and extinguish your campfire. It notes that more than 80% of wildfires are caused by humans.

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